Appeal of the Chaldean Patriarch

Note: Earlier today the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer (F.S.S.R.) (Transalpine Redemptorists) posted on their blog an urgent appeal of Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako, Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Baghdad, concerning the plight of Christians living in and around the Iraqi city of Mosul. On their Facebook page, the F.S.S.R. expressed regret that this letter has not been widely disseminated online. In an effort to bring more attention to it, I am copying the full text below. Please share.

To all who have a living conscience in Iraq and all the world

To the voice of moderate brother Muslims who have a voice in Iraq and all the world

To all who have a concern that Iraq could remain a country for all His Children

To all leaders of thought and opinion

To all who announce the freedom of the human being

To all protectors of the dignity of human beings and of religion


The control exercised by the Islamist Jihadists upon the city of Mosul, and their proclamation of it as an Islamic State, after several days of calm and expectant watching of events, has now come to reflect negatively upon the Christian population of the city and its environs.

The initial sign was in the kidnapping of the two nuns and 3 orphans who were released after 17 days. At the time, we experienced it as a flash of hope and as a clearing of the sky after the appearance of storm clouds.

Suddenly we have been surprised by the more recent outcomes which are the proclamation of an Islamic state and the announcement calling all Christians and clearly asking them to convert to Islam or to pay the jizyah (the tax all non- Muslims must pay while living in the land of Islam) – without specifying the exact amount. The only alternative is to abandon the city and their houses with only the clothes they are wearing, taking nothing else. Moreover, by Islamic law, upon their departure, their houses are no longer their properties but are instantly confiscated as property of the Islamic state.

In recent days, there has been written the letter ‘N’ in Arabic on the front wall of Christian homes, signifying ‘Nazara’ (Christian), and on the front wall of Shiite homes, the letter ‘R’ signifying ‘Rwafidh’ (Protestants or rejecters). We do not know what will happen in future days because in an Islamic state the Al-sharia or Islamic code of law is powerful and has been interpreted to require the issuance of new I.Ds for the population based on religious or sectarian affiliation.

This categorization based upon religion or sect afflicts the Muslims as well and contravenes the regulation of Islamic thought which is expressed in the Quran which says, “You have your religion and I have my religion” and yet another place in Quran states, “There is no compulsion in religion”. This is exactly the contradiction in the life and history of the Islamic world for more than 1400 years and in the co-existence with other different religions and nations in the East.

With all due respect to belief and dogmas, there has been a fraternal life between Christians and Muslims. How much the Christians have shared here in our East specifically from the beginnings of Islam. They shared every sweet and bitter circumstance of life; Christian and Muslim blood has been mixed as it was shed in the defense of their rights and lands. Together they built a civilization, cities, and a heritage. It is truly unjust now to treat Christians by rejecting them and throwing them away, considering them as nothing.

It is clear that the result of all this discrimination legally enforced will be the very dangerous elimination of the possibility of co-existence between majorities and minorities. It will be very harmful to Muslims themselves both in the near and the distant future.

Should this direction continue to be pursued, Iraq will come face to face with human, civil, and historic catastrophe.

We call with all the force available to us; we call to you fraternally, in a spirit of human brotherhood; we call to you urgently; we call to you impelled by risk and in spite of the risk. We implore in particular our Iraqi brothers asking them to reconsider and reflect upon the strategy they have adopted and demanding that they must respect innocent and weaponless people of all nationalities, religions, and sects.

The Holy Quran has ordered believers to respect the innocent and has never called them to seize the belongings, the possessions, the properties of others by force. The Quran commands refuge for the widow, the orphaned, the poor, and the weaponless and respect “to the seventh neighbor.”

We call Christians in the region to act with reason and prudence and to consider and to plan everything in the best way possible. Let them understand what is planned for this region, to practice solidarity in love, to examine the realities together and so be able together to find the paths to build trust in themselves and in their neighbors. Let them stay close to their own Church and surround it; endure the time of trial and pray until the storm will be over.

† Louis Raphael Sako

Patriarch of Babylon for the Chaldean

17 July 2014


  1. Talk is worthless, the only thing that counts now is military force. And the secularized western states, including the US under Obama, cannot undertake a military operation to save Christians because it goes against their secular ideology. The only major nation that is even marginally officially Christian is Russia, and they are following their own interests at present and cannot be expected to put a couple of Spetsnaz brigades in there to help. So it will be another genocide. At least maybe the scales will fall from our eyes on Islam. See Rorate.

    1. Isn’t it largely thanks to the US military that Iraqi Christians are in this situation?

        1. Well I’m not much a fan of the Paleo-cons but they are not the only ones making this argument. My understanding was that many Church leaders opposed the Iraq war on similar grounds. I would also point out that the US has been for at least two to three years actively supplying the Syrian rebellion, the chaos there helped facilitate ISIS’s rise. Wasn’t John McCain pictured standing next to two ISIS leaders? I think the US has done enough.

          1. Also, a just war requires a foreseeably reasonable chance of success. We don’t have that, unless you want an even more complete genocide of the Christians there, which would defeat the whole purpose of an intervention, no?

            Also, Putinism cannot be good for the Church (the Catholic Church, that is), as we have seen, in Russia proper or abroad.

          2. Ita, I owe you something of an apology, I took your words as a more direct attack on the military as a distinct group than you seem to have intended (I also dislike paleos greatly). If you mean that (FedGov / the bipartisan Ruling Class / the Lizard People from within the Hollow Earth) have done lots to facilitate this then yes, they have. Here is a list of US made artillery ISIS captured in Iraq: And here is a list of other equipment (about “three divisions worth” according to a source in the article:

  2. I, too, was opposed to the Iraq war from before its inception, and am generally opposed to foreign adventures, certainly of the building democracy at the point of a gun variety so beloved of the neo-cons, but here we are talking about outright slaughter of our own co-religionists. If it was right for Urban II to call for a crusade back in the 11th century, I do not see why it would not be right now as well. I also agree with the general distrust of Putin (for which, from a conservative, Anglo-Catholic [maybe soon Roman, now, after the CofE synod] point of view, see Alexander Boot’s blog; he should know), but I think that for a nation to respond to a call for crusade today, that nation would have to see its Christian heritage as important and living, not something that Western European nations (excepting perhaps Hungary) or many here in the US do. At least they seem to talk the talk now in Russia, for all their failings.

  3. The First Crusade is distinguishable in that there was a greater prospect of success than here (it need not be certain, but at least a reasonable chance). If we were to intervene in Iraq, we would likely (short of wading deep in Sunni civilian blood, which would violate another just war principle) face similar if not greater failures as that which faced the Americans in the aftermath of the last war. That is what distinguishes Urban II’s situation with that of Francis, at the very least.

Comments are closed.